It's been two years since the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, but it now seems that an outstanding amount of Rs 44 lakh is still pending to the Apollo Hospital in Chennai. Though the AIADMK has claimed that around Rs 6 crore was paid with funds from its treasury, a new submission from the hospital to the Arumughasamy commission says the bill hasn't been settled fully.
According to a bill summary submitted by the hospital, the total cost of the treatment and other services is Rs 6.86 crore, but so far only Rs 6.41 crore has been paid, and an outstanding amount of Rs 44 lakh is pending. The bill for health care services alone is Rs 1.92 crore. Of this, the hospital has charged a consultation fee of Rs 71 lakh. Usage of equipment, such as ventilators, infusion pump and syringe pump has been billed at Rs 7.10 lakh, while medicines from the ward pharmacy cost Rs 38 lakh. The room has been billed at Rs 24 lakh. Under professional charges, the hospital has charged Rs 92 lakh for services from London-based Dr Richard Beale, who was flown in for treatment. Singapore hospital Mount Elizabeth has meanwhile been paid more than Rs 12 lakh.
From the documents that TNM accessed from the Commission, it is clear that almost Rs 2 crore of the total bill was not used directly for Jayalalithaa's treatement or care, but instead was spent for others. In a section titled 'Room rent/Food and Beverages/Engineering service,' the hospital has stated that room rent came up to Rs 1.24 crores (an additional amount from the earlier mentioned Rs 24 lakh). This according to Apollo's submission was the rent for rooms booked for Jayalalithaa's attenders, party leaders, government staff and others. During the 75 days of her hospitalisation, the AIADMK had booked around 14 rooms, including in the luxury ward and the CCU. And these rooms were occupied for 60-75 days.
It is the food and beverage services billed for Rs 1.17 crore that has caught everyone's eye. This however was not just food for the late Chief Minister, but for others as well. The break up shows that Rs 48 lakh was spent on providing food and refreshments to the media posted outside the hospital. The hospital had to also provide food for police personnel, attenders and escorts. The food bill of Secretaries and other government staff ran to Rs 19 lakh, while the bill for attenders and others in the party was Rs 17 lakh.
While the document states that Rs 6 crore has been paid by the AIADMK on June 15, 2017, it does not state the source of another payment of Rs 41 lakh on 13 October, 2016.
When TNM contacted the AIADMK over the pending payment, sources stated that they were unaware that any amount was yet to be paid.
In June last year, Vaigaichelvan of the AIADMK had stated, â€śWe decided not to use the peoplesâ€™ tax money but to pay it from the party treasury. We have settled our Ammaâ€™s medical bills in full and paid Rs 6 crore to Apollo hospitals by way of cheque.â€ť
Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo on September 22, 2016 for 'fever and dehydration.' She was treated by a team of expert doctors from London, AIIMS and Chennai till December 5, 2016, when she passed away.